Christophe Chabouté first made a name for himself with Sorcières, in 1998. Chabouté puts every ounce of available expression into a drawing style that proves entirely uncompromising, always working in black and white and leaving his readers free to fill in the colours of their choosing.
Black and white is, quite simply, his trademark. The way Chabouté sees it, the stories he tells are in black and white so as to escape aesthetic and narrative constraints and he only uses colour if it adds something meaningful to the story.
Christophe Chabouté was born in Alsace in 1967 and currently lives on the Île d'Oléron. He has a real knack for filling his panels with the kind of silence which seemed to have disappeared with the death of Hugo Pratt and Didier Comès. He works in ink, excelling in an area despised by the majority of his contemporaries, searching for emotive effects in the depths of his inkwell and never fully satisfied with the results. Far from worrying about accidental blots and spills, he sees such accidents as opening up new graphic possibilities, enabling him to break the rules.
Christophe Chabouté brings sincerity and genuine emotional commitment to his work, coupled with an economy of means. The Angoulême Festival recognised as much in awarding him an Alph Art Coup de Coeur for his intimate story Quelques jours d'été in 1999. Whether he is focusing on the monster Landru or Herman Melville's Moby Dick, his images are never overblown or fussy. Chabouté ploughs his own furrow, enjoying a different visual take on the world which frees us from our habitual ways of seeing and which frees the act of drawing from potential clichés.
Born in Altkirch (FR) in 1967. Lives and works in the Ile d?Oléron (FR).
Christophe Chabouté spent two years and then a further six months studying at the School of Fine Arts in, respectively, Mulhouse and Angoulême, before enrolling at the School of Decorative Arts in Strasbourg. After graduating, he worked in advertising for some fifteen years. In 1993, he published his first cartoon illustrations in Les Récits, a collective album about Arthur Rimbaud published by Vents d'Ouest. Chabouté essentially works in black and white, citing as models Didier Comès and Jacques Tardi, and also José Muñoz, Dino Battaglia and Alberto Breccia. Never wholly satisfied with his work, he seeks to elicit pure emotion from the depths of his inkwell, excelling in a discipline eschewed by the majority of his fellow comics artists ? the use of pen and ink.
His first solo album, Sorcières, published in 1998 by Éditions du Téméraire, is a collection of fifteen short stories focusing on the practice of witchcraft in a remote village and was a prize winner at the Illzach Festival. The same year saw the publication of Quelques jours d?été (Éditions Paquet), which was awarded the Alph?Art Coup de C?ur at the Angoulême Festival. In 1999, Chabouté gave us Zoé (Vents d'Ouest) and, the following year, the thriller comic Pleine Lune (also Vents d?Ouest), described by Le Monde as a ?story of everyday hatred? and awarded the Prix Extrapole for best comic. In 2001, Paquet brought out Un îlot de bonheur and then, in 2002, La Bête.
The three volumes of Purgatoire appeared between 2003 and 2005, Chabouté demonstrating with the series that he is equally comfortable handling black and white and direct colour. The work never stops for Chabouté and in 2006 he went on to produce Henri Désiré Landru, which won the Grand Prix RTL award for best comic strip, and devoted the following year to adapting the shorty story To Build a Fire (Construire un feu) by American author Jack London. The year 2008 saw the publication of Tout seul, which was deemed a masterpiece by Publishers Weekly. There was to be no break, other equally brilliant albums following with persistent regularity, including Terre-Neuvas and Un peu de bois et d'acier. In 2016, Chabouté produced a striking two-volume adaptation of Herman Melville?s great classic Moby Dick, and in 2018 Vents d?Ouest published an Artbook: Bricoles, gribouillis et fonds de tiroirs.... devoted to Chabouté?s work. The artist has also illustrated novels for young people and produced a great many vivid drawings of New York ? although he has never in fact been there! Christophe Chabouté?s work has an emotional honesty and purity and relies on an economy of means. He never ?over-eggs? an image. He works quietly on his own and likes looking at the world differently ? to trick himself and us out of our usual ways of seeing and avoid the usual clichés of drawing.